256 Words

Two Men with Perfectly Good Views

Ben O'Grady

There are two men sitting across from one another in a coffee shop, sitting in the corner at a two-person table which is flanked by other people at their own tables---customers, patrons, 'clientele' in service industry parlance---two men with hot steamy mugs of coffee clasped between gnarled workman's hands and resting on the table in a line that nearly perfectly bisects their chests and are approximately in the same line together, they stare at each other, pointedly into each other's eyes in a fashion that people who are not completely comfortable and accommodated with one another would find discomforting, disconcerting, disturbing; they stare at each other unblinkingly and without consciousness of themselves or those around them. Both men are oldish, graying, balding in one case, heavily bespectacled in the other, dressed in muted colored sweaters and slacks that are neither cheap looking nor fashionable, these two could be any two older men really, they continue to stare through their lined faces and rosy jowls and healthy, non-bloodshot and intelligent eyes directly at each other with about as neutral an expression as you can find in this environment, all straight-lipped and relaxed foreheads and brows, the man with the glasses in no way letting his eyewear interfere with his laser-like gaze. They do not move at all. They are statues. Their stares are physical things, like sharpened stakes, aimed at each other. People nearby notice but say nothing. The two men are ages 56 and 62, respectively, and their sexuality is not in question.

Eventually, one of them speaks:

"I have made no connection."

Copyright ©2001 Ben O'Grady. All Rights Reserved.

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July, 2001
Issue #63

256 Words